Programs for teens lose funds

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Programs geared toward teenage parents and sexual education have been cut from local and state budgets in spite of the increasing number of teen pregnancies in the state, local health professionals say.

The East Central Health District cut seven programs and several staff members after a statewide budget cut in family planning funding in October, said Mary Stacy, youth development coordinator for the health department.

The Georgia Department of Human Resources proposed cutting $7.5 million for 2009 and $10 million from the 2010 budget.

The cuts will lead to more teen pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, said Mary Pierucci, the director of public policy for Planned Parenthood.

"The school system teaches abstinence, but these teens need more," she said. "There's no one to meet the community's needs. Churches and parents are looking for abstinence-plus programs, and they're just not there."

Georgia ranked 10th nationally in teen pregnancies and second in repeat teen pregnancies in 2006, Ms. Stacy said about data released last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

After a 14-year decline, Georgia's teen pregnancy rate began to rise in 2005.

That year, there were 41.9 births for every 1,000 women ages 15 to 19. In 2006, that number rose to 51.2. Richmond County exceeded the state's teen birth rate in that age group at 71.2 per 1,000 women.

"A lot of improvement needs to be done," Ms. Stacy said.

Ms. Stacy said she continues to speak at middle schools, but her presentations are limited to abstinence education because of a state mandate.

"We know the healthiest choice is abstinence, but they don't all choose to do that," she said. "We know that 50 percent of our teenagers are participating in sexual activity."

Kristen Schlachter, 18, said her years participating in the health department's Teens Relating Information By Educating program benefited her.

"At school, all they said was 'you need to save it until marriage, "' she said. "TRIBE really informed me about teen pregnancies and STDs. Even if you don't wait, you need to be informed."

The Aiken Technical College freshman said the program also helped her communicate better with her parents about sex.

Ms. Stacy said she wants parents to provide their children with comprehensive sexual education.

"Sometimes parents don't know exactly what to say, but that doesn't mean we should be silent," she said. "Since we have less resources, we have to do more with what we have."

Reach Stephanie Toone at (706) 823-3215 or stephanie.toone@augustachronicle.com.

TEEN PREGNANCIES

Number of births for teens ages 15 to 19 per 1,000 women (2006):

Richmond Co. 71.2

Columbia Co. 29.8

Burke Co. 85.2

McDuffie Co. 75.8

2006 TEEN PREGNANCY FACTS

- Georgia ranked 10th nationally for teen pregnancies.

- The state ranked second in repeat teen pregnancies.

- There were more than 21,000 teen mothers in Georgia.

- Georgia's teen birth rate was 54.2 percent higher than the national average.

Sources: Division of Public Health, Georgia Department of Human Resources, 2006, Center for Disease Control and Prevention

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patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 02/07/09 - 05:51 am
0
0
With hundreds of government

With hundreds of government social programs to support foolish life decisions, "teaching abstinence" in a government school just sounds silly. A few less social programs will change nothing in a society where personal responsibility is discouraged by every government agency and media outlet. All of the cut programs will be replaced when the economy turns around.

Brad Owens
4914
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Brad Owens 02/07/09 - 06:30 am
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I am sure there is more to it

I am sure there is more to it than telling them to not have sex Pat. There can never be enough problem solving as far as I am concerned. The problem is we do NOT have proper sex ed classes at a young enough age. Parents are too embarassed to have frank, open, and honest conversations with their kids so they make 'foolish life decisions' as you put it. The fact is Pat, lots of people don't consider having a baby at a young age a curse. Most kids (70%) are not going to go on to college so they don't feel that their life is ruined if they have a kid an can't join Delta Delta Delta at UGA. So I would say that your stance is one based on cultural exclusion, class snobism, and just plain old misunderstanding of the problem. Its NOT 'foolish' choices from where they stand because that have NOT been taught any different, but you are for cutting education funds that are meant to help these kids make some wiser choices. How do you balance those two counter arguments?

soldout
1283
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soldout 02/07/09 - 08:58 am
0
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Christ education would help

Christ education would help the problem and it is free. All we do is based on math. We are three parts; body, mind and spirit. When that spirit is the Spirit of Christ and we renew our mind to agree with the Spirit the body loses 2 to 1 and becomes under control.

patriciathomas
42
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patriciathomas 02/07/09 - 09:55 am
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brad, "meant to help" and

brad, "meant to help" and "helping" are often two different things. I actually think the almost always foolish and silly programs of the bleeding hearts are MEANT to be helpful.

junket83
0
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junket83 02/07/09 - 10:39 am
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There are few good choices

There are few good choices here. You could ignore the problem entirely and just say its not the responsibility of schools to be involved in this sensitive subject. We could spend heavily on extensive sex education programs that might help make a dent in this problem.

The real problem is the family. Until families and eventually society view teenage pregnancy and unwed pregnancies as a problem then we may be able to tackle this issue. Just look at the woman who just gave birth the octuplets in California. Her foolishness will cost everyone in California and could ultimately hurt her children if she is unable to provide adequately for them. But, one doesn't have to think much to become pregnant, just when it comes to raising the child.

SargentMidTown
8
Points
SargentMidTown 02/07/09 - 02:11 pm
0
0
Most of these teens come from

Most of these teens come from generational welfare families. It is a way of life for them to squeeze out babies to ge a check. Then they get a section 8 house and many times the sale durgs. The same section 8 tenant lives at 1711 Walker St. This tenant was party to selling drugs from the first day that she moved herself and her children into 1711 Walker ST. The house has been busted twice in less than six months (this is public record) The last bust involved crack cocaine and pot. If you wish to buy a copy of the report for twenty five cents go to the records department at the Law Enforcement Canter at 401 Walton Way. Ask for case number 200800256342 This woman's children should be removed from this drug underworld environment but DEFAX is as irresponsible as is The Augusta Housing Authority. I guess that these children are being groomed to be the future drug dealers of America. Augusta citizens should be out ragged after reading this verifiable public information.

SargentMidTown
8
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SargentMidTown 02/07/09 - 02:16 pm
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Apparently most of you find

Apparently most of you find the above an acceptable way to spend your federal tax dollars.

disssman
6
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disssman 02/07/09 - 07:03 pm
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Ms Stacy should clearly

Ms Stacy should clearly define the word "comprehensive". My my that word is bandied around a lot these days and no one knows what is meant by it.

coolette
10
Points
coolette 02/07/09 - 10:43 pm
0
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Well not to worry , our new

Well not to worry , our new President has abortions covered in the new package. We don't have programs to prevent pregnancy, but we will provide abortions. Sounds like a brilliant plan to me!!! There is no common sense in our government any more!!

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